The late Islamic feminist Fatima Mernissi leaves behind a lasting and profound legacy

Published December 7th, 2015 - 09:57 GMT
Her work is considered by many to be pioneering in the field of women's roles in Islam. (Twitter)
Her work is considered by many to be pioneering in the field of women's roles in Islam. (Twitter)

The renowned Moroccan feminist writer and sociologist Fatima Mernissi passed away last week in the Moroccan capital of Rabat at the age of 75, leaving behind a profound legacy which will likely last for generations to come.

She was well known for her pioneering work in Islamic feminism as well as her defending of human rights and democracy. Her most famous book, Beyond the Veil, broke boundaries in its examination of Islam from a feminist point of view.

Mernissi was born in the Moroccan city of Fes in 1940, and studied political science at Sorbonne University in Paris before earning a doctorate at Brandeis University in the US. She went on to teach in Morocco and publish more than 15 books.

Her role as an internationally recognized Islamic feminist saw a number of her writings focus on women’s roles in Islam. Katherine Marshall, a senior fellow at Georgetown University and friend of Mernissi, wrote in The Huffington Post that “She was absolutely intolerant of intolerance, a staunch defender of Islam and of women's rights and roles in Islam. She accepted no contradiction between them.”

In addition to her feminist writings, she did sociological work for UNESCO and the International Labor Organization, as well as the Moroccan government. She contributed to articles and publications which discussed women in Morocco and women in Islam, both historically and in a contemporary perspective.


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